Not all cables were created equal

Josh Sherman
2 min read

We’ve all heard the horror stories. Somebody gets a new monitor and it sorta works. Everything powers on, they get a picture but they can’t seem to get the monitor to go up to the advertised max resolution.

Usually these stories go down the path of swapping cords, maybe even dongles. Eventually the right combination of peripherals are assembled and all is right with the world.

Or the monitor ends up being swapped :P

I’ve heard these stories before but have never actually experienced the issue. Until this past week when my buddy Justin sent me one of his extra Asus PC278Q monitors to tide me over for a bit.

As I was hooking it up to my older iMac, I needed a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable. No big deal, I picked up a 3 foot AmazonBasics one.

I’ve had great experience with AmazonBasics cables and stuff in the past, so I didn’t think much of things initially. That was, until I got the cable, hooked it up and the monitor refused to do anything created than 1920x1080.

I switched the output I was using. I am on Linux so I tried it in macOS. I even tried my wife’s newer MacBook Air. Same deal every single time.

Then I remembered a conversation with my buddy Robert from a while back. He had warned me about the quality of the AmazonBasics display cables and said he always had trouble with them.

Okay, wish I had remembered that a bit sooner. So back to Amazon I went!

This time around, I found a cable that explicitly said it was 4K capable. Incidentally, one of the best ones out there was Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort and not HDMI. The monitor supports it, so why the hell not.

A half of a day later, I had the new cable hooked up and instantly, I was able to max out the resolution at 2560x1440. Hallelujah!!

Lesson learned, not all cables were created equal.

The silver lining to the story is that Amazon was pretty amazing about the return of the cable. Got an instant refund and I didn’t even have to send the cable back.

Guessing they knew how crappy the cable was too :P

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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